What is Systems Engineering

What is Systems Engineering ?
In today’s world, we are often confronted with the keyword ” system” . A system is a construct or collection of different elements that together produce results not obtainable by the elements alone. The elements, or parts, can include people, hardware, software, facilities, policies, and documents; that is, all things required to produce systems-level results. The results include system level qualities, properties, characteristics, functions, behavior and performance. The value added by the system as a whole, beyond that contributed independently by the parts, is primarily created by the relationship among the parts; that is, how they are interconnected . What is systems engineering ? Systems Engineering is an engineering discipline whose responsibility is creating and executing an interdisciplinary process to ensure that the customer and stakeholder’s needs are satisfied in a high quality, trustworthy, cost efficient and schedule compliant manner throughout a system’s entire life cycle. This process is usually comprised of the following seven tasks: State the problem :  starts with a description of the top-level functions that the system must perform.Investigate alternatives: Alternative designs are created and are evaluated based on performance, schedule, cost and risk figures of merit.Model the system: Systems Engineering is responsible for creating a product and also a process for producing it. So, models should be constructed for both the product and the process.  Integrate: Integration means bringing things together so they work as a whole. Interfaces between subsystems must be designed. Subsystems should be defined along natural boundaries. Launch the system : Launching the system means running the system and producing outputs. Assess performance: technical performance measures and metrics are all used to assess performance. (including customer satisfaction comments, productivity, number of problem reports, or whatever you feel is critical to your business). Re-evaluate : It is one of the most fundamental engineering tools. Re-evaluation should be a continual process with many parallel loops. Re-evaluate means observing outputs and using this information to modify the system, the inputs, the product or the process.

Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem (Operations ,Performance ,Test ,Manufacturing ,Cost ; Schedule ,Training ; Support ).In other words ,It is a mix of HR, project management, business, rational decomposition, trade studies, requirements traceability, integration, testing, verification and validation, operations, and end of life cycle disposal of systems.

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Systems Engineering provides a means for discretizing systems problems into chunks that can be solved, managed, and implemented – the scheduling, costs, and interdisciplinary issues are identified, but continuously change and emerge. Systems engineering is a discipline concerned with the integration of multiple interrelated systems. Any significant project is composed of many different parts which must be completed separately, but all of which must work in harmony in the final design.
What does a systems engineer need to know ?  It is the job of a systems engineer to balance and define the requirements of each subsystem to achieve the best possible final design. The engineers within each subsystem are tasked with optimizing their piece of the project under the given constraints with regard to the project as a whole. They are responsible for the system concept, architecture, and design. They analyze and manage complexity and risk. They decide how to measure whether the deployed system actually works as intended. They are responsible for a myriad of other facets of system creation.They must understand the interactions between the systems and how the overall requirements apply to each one. No matter the size of the project, systems engineers are tasked with the same general goals. Although systems engineering looks different in different applications, the underlying methods utilized remain consistent across different projects. The outcomes of any such projects should share similar characteristics: they should have subsystems, even with opposed constraints, integrated together in a way that ensures the most efficient operation of the overall system. This, if done properly, will result in a project that is best suited to fulfill its specifications; if not done properly, the system may not function at all.

To associate with an example consider the development of a space vehicle. Electrical engineers will design a power and communications system; software engineers will program the computer architecture to use and control these systems; mechanical engineers will provide structure and stability for the platform; aerospace engineers will build propulsion systems; and many other groups as well will contribute to the complex task. Each of these groups will want to produce the best subsystem they can in their own right, but the best or simplest subsystem will not necessarily work the best when considering the project as a whole. Trade-offs will have to be made. Some groups may have to perform design changes as a compromise that, while leading their subsystem away from optimal performance, enhance the function of the complete system. These redesigns will not happen unless there is a systems engineer directing the progress and recognizing the necessity of compromise for the final solution.

-Rechtin, 2000
-The Mythical Man Month: Essays on Software
-The Systems Engineering Process from A. T. Bahill and B. Gissing,


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